Minister calls for more Māori in tech sector

7:23 pm on 16 June 2016

Māori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell has told a hui in Gisborne that more Māori need to be exploring careers in technology.

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Photo: 123rf.com

Mr Flavell was speaking at an economic development hui in Gisborne that is discussing a government report into Māori in the ICT sector. The report found that Māori between the ages of 15 and 25 were frequent users of mobile technology.

Ngahiwi Tomoana, the chairman of the Māori Economic Development Board that produced the report, said Māori had always been open to new technologies and skills.

"Like our ancestors before us we have embraced this new technology and have welcomed the challenges that these new technologies offer our people," Mr Tomoana said.

Māori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell

Māori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

"Our children are early adopters of this technology and regularly participate in social networking and play a guiding hand in helping their parents and kaumātua embrace these taonga."

Mr Flavell said the kinds of jobs Māori relied on in the past have changed and they needed to explore careers in the technology sector.

"Studying ICT is a pathway to high-paying careers for our young. The median salary of a Māori worker in 2013 was $36,500 whereas the average Māori ICT professional earned $60,000," said Mr Flavell.

"But we don't just want our young people getting into ICT careers, we want them in management and owning their own businesses," he said.

Despite high mobile use among Māori, only 68 percent of Māori households had access to the internet compared to the national average of 83 percent.

The Gisborne hui is one of eight that will take place throughout the regions to promote economic development in the ICT sector.